A guide to Bluetails (Genus Ischnura)

Genus Ischnura Charpentier, 1840
Family Coenagrionidae
Distribution Worldwide
  • 70 species, favouring exposed stagnant water bodies.
Distribution in Africa and surrounding Islands
  • Eight species inhabit northern Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius.
  • One species in most of tropical Africa: I. senegalensis.
  • Well distributed. Tolerant of saline and polluted water (e.g. near hot springs). Absent from most forested areas
General identification features
  • Ischnura males are small (hindwing 13-18 mm), dark damselflies with a conspicuous blue ‘tail-end’.
  • Easily recognised by their dissimilar pterostigmas: black or bicoloured in forewing, but plain grey or brownish in hindwing.
  • Immature females can be conspicuously orange.

[Adapted from Dijkstra & Clausnitzer 2014]

Tropical Bluetail, Ischnura senegalensis
Male Female
100 130 Ischnura senegalensis Tropical Bluetail1 Male Gaborone Botswana Oct 2014r 1 100 133 Ischnura senegalensis Tropical Bluetail Green Female Gaborone Botswana1 Oct 2014r 4



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